The Little Kitten (Nicola Killen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen, an adorable autumn tale of feline friendship.

Little Ollie, clad in a playful catsuit, is ready to head outside to enjoy a fall day with her own pet cat, Pumpkin. Yet just as she’s about to jump into a pile of crunchy leaves, a gust of wind blows them all away – to reveal a shivering kitten hidden within! Ollie and Pumpkin welcome their new friend with a day of play and cuddles, but in all the excitement, Ollie and the new kitten run off and accidentally leave Pumpkin behind. Discovering some “Lost Kitten” flyers, Ollie realizes that her new friend is missed by his own person, and endeavors to help him find his way home. With a mysterious path, a missing Pumpkin, and a quickly-falling night, can Ollie get the kitten home… without becoming lost herself?

Delightful. This sweet-as-pumpkin-pie story is as gentle and cozy of an autumn tale as any reader could wish for. Themes of adventure and friendship (and just a hint of Halloween) are rich, yet the story itself is simple, making for a lovely and light storytime. Equally appealing is the soft yet striking artwork, which features adorable, endearing characters in shades of gray, white, and orange. The sporadic cutouts and gorgeous use of foil amongst the fall foliage is the cherry on top. The length is perfect, and JJ adored it. A modern fall classic-in-the-making that’s sure to please, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

In The Middle Of Fall (Kevin Henkes)

Hello, friends! Our book today is In The Middle Of Fall, written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek, a lovely meditation on the magical time of year when nature is filled with the color of fall.

There is a time that comes only once a year… a short time between the air growing cooler and the ice coming in, between the chittering of animals and the silence of snowfall, between the bright green of leaves on the tree and the naked branches reaching into a blank white sky. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time, but if you’re paying attention, there’s ripe round pumpkins and apples, busy squirrels, and a cool gray sky. And occasionally, when the wind stirs up just right, the world becomes a riotous flutter of reds and yellows and oranges and browns that leap from the treetops to dance and settle on the ground.

This is a quiet and very mellow book about autumn, and I really liked it. The text is minimal and contemplative, and very soothing to read aloud, considering and celebrating just a handful of fall things and colors in a reverent sort of tone. The art compliments this perfectly, capturing the elements of fall in a soft autumnal palette that rises and falls with the gentle narrative of the words. The length is fine, and JJ and I both enjoyed it. A tranquil exploration of the beauty of autumn, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Little Elliot, Fall Friends (Mike Curato)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the latest in the positively charming Little Elliot series: Little Elliot, Fall Friends by Mike Curato. In this newest adventure, Elliot and Mouse enjoy the wonders of fall, and find some new friends along the way.

Little Elliot the elephant and his very best friend Mouse love living in the big city, but sometimes even they need a break from the noise and dirt and crowds. So one day, the pair decide to take a bus trip up to the country to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. The countryside is everything they hoped for and more: there’s beautiful scenery, delicious treats, and plenty of space and quiet to enjoy each other’s company. The pair decide to play a game of hide-and-seek, and after a few rounds, Elliot finds the perfect hiding spot. Perhaps a little TOO perfect, in fact. Hours pass without Mouse finding him, and Little Elliot begins to grow scared. Can he find his friend again in the great big countryside?

Once again, Curato has brought a lovely story and gorgeous art together to create a wonderful storybook for the eyes and ears. While the previous Little Elliot books deal with slightly more serious themes (loneliness, family, overcoming fears, etc), this one is almost entirely simple fun and a celebration of autumn. The main conflict is resolved quickly, which gives the rest of the book plenty of time to focus on pumpkins, fall leaves, delicious foods, and friends and family coming together. The art is as beautiful as always, placing the adorable characters of Elliot and Mouse in stunning environments, this time using a soft autumnal palette that’s a feast for the eyes. The length is great, and JJ and I both loved it. A wonderful addition to one of our favorite series, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Wonderfall (Michael Hall)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the lovely Wonderfall by Michael Hall, a clever book of word mash-ups that celebrates the fall season.

Told through the eyes of a colorful autumn tree, we are presented with scenes from fall, each set to the theme of a different play on the word “fall.” There are the “beautifall” shades of red, orange, and brown that make up the season’s colors, the “frightfall” costumes of the trick-or-treaters on Halloween, the “plentifall” harvest, and a “thankfall” holiday full of delicious treats to gobble-gobble up. Then, as the air turns cool and the tree loses its leaves, it is delighted to welcome a new kind of fall: the first snowfall of winter.

What a fabulous book! This one was a delightfall (yes, I did that) feast for the eyes and ears, using a clever premise and some truly joyful art to celebrate all the best aspects of the autumn season. Each “fall” word is accompanied by a short poem that captures the subject in lovely minimal style, which both illustrates the topic while giving the main character – a tree – an astounding amount of endearing personality. The art manages to use a fall color palette and simple shapes to create images bursting with life, energy, and spectacle. The length was perfect, and JJ and I both adored it. This is a wonderfall book to help ring in the season with your little one, and it’s absolutely Baby Bookworm approved.

Little Frog And The Scary Autumn Thing (Jane Yolen)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Little Frog And The Scary Autumn Thing, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Ellen Shi, a wonderful tale that uses the change of seasons as a metaphor for how to handle changes in our lives.

Little Frog loves the color green. It’s her very favorite color, and all her favorite things are green: her family, her lily pad, even her own self. So when the trees of her forest begin to turn from green to brand new colors, like red and yellow and orange and even – gasp! – purple, Little Frog feels nervous. Maybe even afraid. But Mama Frog and Papa Frog are here to help her overcome her fears, and learn that change is simply a part of life, and in change can be found new joys, fun experiences, and even familiar comforts. 

In a book written by Jane Yolen, you’re almost expecting a wonderful story, and this one fits the bill. On the surface, it’s a sweet tale about the change of seasons, but Yolen layers in some truly lovely messages about the anxieties we all have about big changes (yes, all – even Papa Frog shows nervousness of the purple leaves). There’s an especially clever moment when, being brave and trying to explore her changing world, Little Frog ends up falling and scraping her knee, and the story stops to focus on it. It’s a small yet meaningful detail, showing that sometimes change is especially hard at first, even painful. The art is beautiful, capturing both the fall colors and the mood of the Frog family perfectly. The length is good, edging on long for tiny bookworms, but JJ enjoyed it very much. This was a well-crafted parable that had a lot to enjoy, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!